Voices from the South

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    I am Henri Nzeyimana, an EMA graduate from Burundi academic year 2005-2006. I am currently working as return project  coordinator in a project focusing on protection and assistance to ex-asylum seekers returning from Europe to Burundi.

    My aim in this article is to express my heartfelt gratitude to the EMA programme for the noble mission to educate human rights and democracy practitioners in the field. The inclusive approach whereby students from Africa, America and Asia join their European colleagues testifies to  the programme human righhts principle of non discrimination. The E.MAlumni initiative is also worth praising as an opportunity to keep the EMA family together and share experiences and challenges.

    I am of the view that candidates from the South need to keep the candle of democracy and human rights glowing by sharing our experiences and challenges from the frontiline in a column baptised “Voices from the South”. Voices from the South would enable readers and frontline human rights defenders to interact on developments in the field where human rights are violated most and where democratisation process is facing reversals by self-seeking State House tenants who highjack the people’s will for their selfish interests.

    In the name of state sovereignity, territorial integrity and national security, voices of change are silenced forever. Revolutionary youth are branded terrorists and puppets of the West by dinausors of old regimes who want to stay in power and plunder national wealth.

    Because of poverty, illiteracy and sectarianism, we  are watching in total powerlessness pseudo-elections being manipulated in the name of the will of the people.Yet we know people cannot exercise freely their will when they depend on the State machinary for survival, when people do not receive adequate voter education and where the State security organs and militia intimidate voters and buy the voters choice.

    The particracy and terror regimes is not what we truly deserve because we are on the wrong side of the globe. The quantitative democracy whereby only numbers fabricated by incumbents or won through treacherous means from abused electorate will never enable people reap the genuine fruits of democracy.

    International observer missions need to apply rigourously the international standars of genuine democratic elections. Half-way condemnations of “some irregularities which do not overturn election results or some progress compared to past elections equally termed as rigged” only indicate that some countries deserve some sort of democracy. Condemnations in Sudan, Ivory Coast, indifference in Rwanda and support to Burundi past elections should make us sit back and reflect on where we want our democracy to be hearding to.

    Together we can make the real change happen. We need your support to make our voices heard and our calls for genuine democracy and human rights area not to  continue falling into deaf ears.

    Hope the “Voices from the South” initiative will meet endorsement of concerned members and support from our European counterparts.

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